2006: James A. Dinsmoor (awarded posthumously)
Dr. James A. Dinsmoor was at the center of behavior analysis from its beginning and remained so throughout his career. He participated in the first “proto-ABAI convention,” the Conference on the Experimental Analysis of Behavior at Indiana University, more than 60 years ago. As a graduate student under Keller and Schoenfeld at Columbia University, he provided advice on research strategy to Murray Sidman. He took up the flag for behavior analysis in the psychology department at Indiana University while Kay Dinsmoor, his wife, was the business editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Dr. Dinsmoor completed a series of studies focused on key conceptual issues. The first of these untangled the complex contingencies of escape and avoidance conditioning, the interpretation of which is a matter of contention to this day. Another notable project unmasked the cognitivist interpretation of conditioned reinforcement by showing that a conception in terms of “information” was a misleading characterization of the processes involved. Dr. Dinsmoor was also a political activist, supporting controversial causes while always displaying personal integrity.
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